Org-Roam Link to Files Internal/External to Dropbox

Hey all,

I just started to use Org-Roam to organize my DnD campaign, and I have fallen in love very quickly. Its perfect for how my brain works.

But, I’m realizing now that I want to be linking my roam documents against files on my computer. Specifically, I want to be able to search and link against my PDFs/Images/etc. like I would a roam doc.

I keep my org-roam directory on Dropbox for sync between my computers (that works great).

When linking to files, the following scenarios come up:

  1. I can also link against files that are kept on my Dropbox. This works, because all my computers share the same relative path via Dropbox.
  2. I can also link against files that are kept locally on my machine. This is harder because my computers do not share the same relative path. To the same point, I don’t want to be putting work files on my personal computer and vice-versa.

I figure I’m not the first person to tackle this problem. Has anyone been able to find a reasonable solution for doing this without mixing your computer’s files, and without putting everything on Dropbox?

Being a noob, I don’t have a beautiful canned response to your question. But I do have clarifying questions to ask.

You say “all your computers”. Do you have a personal computer and a work computer? Are there others involved?

Do you use org-roam for work? I assume that use case has nothing to do with DnD? Are your work org-roam documents totally disjoint from your personal org-roam documents, or is there overlap?

One is personal, and two more for work. I mentioned DnD because it’s what got me started, but I want to put my programming and work notes there too. There’s overlap. I would love to keep the same org roam database between my computers.

I personally have completely disjoint work and personal org-roams.

What do other people do? When I leave this job, I am not going to take all the notes I took about internal systems and customers and stuff with me. And I don’t even want to go through a combined org-roam DB and prune all that stuff out.

Hi @GeekTea,

It is a little difficult to understand what you would like to achieve.
Would you mind clarifying how you envision this idea?

Org-roam is designed to keep the cache DB file for each machine. In your case, each of your 3 machines will have a DB file.

In order for all your machines to have the “same roam database”, I think all of them would need to have the same files. If your machines have different files then it would be like this (regardless of the overlapping files):

Machine   # of Files   # of Files in DB
------   ------        -----
 A        100          100
 B        50           50  
 C        10           10  

This is where the encryption feature comes into play. Org-roam User Manual
As a result, I don’t show my notes to people, I just export subsections that are relevant to share. But, It’s all one database.

In the case you specified, I wish to have all my computers (A, B, and C) share the same files. But, for instance, If I have some document that does the following…

#+title: Some File Only on Comp A
* Some text describing my file/links and etc.

  Here is a normal org-link to my file
  [[~/some/dir/only/on/compA/file.pdf][My File Only on Comp A]]

This is what I would like to do, but if I switch to Comp B, I just have a broken path. I was thinking I’m not the only person who has wanted to do this, and if they had already figured out something cleaner.

What’s stopping you from doing this? An org file is a text file… So I see no issue. Sorry I am sure I’m missing some ideas; I don’t quite understand what your issue is…

Or is your issue a “broken path” in Comp B for a file that only exists in Comp A? If so, I have no idea…

1 Like

Thank you for your patience.

I figured out a system that works for me (and its quite underwhelming).

First, I store a lot more in my dropbox from here on out to keep a majority of my files on dropbox. This is the easiest fix for most of this issue.

Second, I let the links be broken. For instance, for my work, if I want to reference a work file, that is only valid on my work computer. If I want to access it. I will need to remotely login to that computer, and thats just fine.

Thank you for your help, perhaps I was asking help to a problem impossible to solve.

I’m new to this thread, is there a best practice for closing out these threads?

I may be wrong, and missing some functionality that exists here on Discourse, but I think the way you do that, is to just ignore the thread going forward. Of course, it’s possible someone will someday read the thread and have a new thought to contribute to it…